The air turned white in front of Stiles with each labored breath he took. He was on his eighth lap around the Beacon Hills High School track on an early Sunday morning and he didn't plan on stopping until he reached ten at least.
Stiles' recent attempt at anything resembling a healthy lifestyle came after seeing members of the pack in various stages of undress. He was feeling especially inadequate after the chaos that ensued two months ago involving mystical creatures of revenge and the fickle nature of high school relationships.
Things were getting dangerous, not as if they weren't before, but now the wolves were dealing with a new threat. A pack of Alphas who seemed to have no problem using violence. After Erica and Boyd showed up at Derek's door later that same night bloodied and carrying a message, everyone was on high alert.
Scott had reluctantly taken up training with Derek and his wolves. Allison's father had offered to help, however Derek had never been one to trust easily especially not hunters with who he and his uncle shared a blood-stained history.
Stiles couldn't blame him, but he did wish that Derek considered Chris Argent's offer more carefully before automatically shutting him down. After Jackson, Derek had not turned anyone else, it was much too risky especially after it all went wrong last time.
Stiles was making a few changes of his own, one of which included distancing himself from the pack, which basically was the same as distancing himself from Scott now that he spent most of his free time with them. Stiles tried not to be jealous, but it was difficult gradually spending less and less time with someone who had always been there.
He couldn't afford to put himself through that much danger again. Stiles no longer wanted to see the look of confusion and concern on his father's face every time he failed to show up for dinner, or each time the school called, or he had a new "lacrosse injury". They were both tired of the deception.
Stiles cleared another lap, leaving one more until he reached his goal of that morning. His chest burned but he pushed through it.
Stiles and Lydia were closer now. They spoke occasionally and shared a lunch table at least.
However Stiles couldn't boast being close to anyone in the pack, except for maybe Isaac. He seemed to hate Stiles the least and didn't get off on shoving him into things like Jackson, Erica and Derek seemed to.
As Stiles finished the tenth lap, he spotted a couple of figures just behind the bleachers. Honestly what was it with people in this town and lurking? No one trusts lurkers. It was a lesson that desperately needed to be learned especially by the people in this town.
Stiles ignored the strange visitors, thankful that his workout would account for his increased heartbeat and heavy breathing that could also be read as fear. He finished off the tenth lap and jogged to gather his water bottle from the sidelines. Whoever it was: friend, acquaintance or enemy, was probably fast and able to catch Stiles if he took off running to his jeep. It wasn't until he reached the car door that the mystery couple decided to show themselves.
Scott and Isaac. He should have suspected, they were the only two who knew about his recent fascination with getting healthy.
"So do you guys often creep around high schools or is this a recent hobby?"
Scott gave his familiar slack-jawed smile as Isaac chuckled.
"No we were just checking if you were free to hang out," Scott said.
Stiles leaned against the car taking a sip of water, "What are you guys doing?"
"Just playing video games, and probably pizza before we have to train with Derek later,"
Stiles was used to saying no to suggested plans by now so he barely thought about it this time before telling Scott no, "I can't, man. Sorry."
"Why not?" He sounded upset, Scott never was one to control his emotions.
"I just can't. Promised my dad I'll make dinner, I was actually going to the grocery store after this."
Scott wrinkled his nose, "Smelling like that?"
Stiles laughed, "It's the grocery store no one there cares what I smell like."
Isaac suddenly cut in, "You've been very busy lately, Stiles."
It was a simple enough sentence, but anyone would have heard the double meaning behind those words.
Stiles met Isaac's eyes, "Yeah, I know." They had a standoff for a minute, neither of them turning away as Scott looked between the two confused.
"Anyways," Scott finally said, "If you can, swing by Derek's tonight."
"Lydia's coming by, it's been a while since everyone's gotten together like this," Isaac added.
The two said their goodbyes and turned to leave. Stiles watched them walk away as he considered their offer. He only ever saw them at school these days, but he didn't think they would catch on this soon. Isaac was quicker than the others, though. He was an observe-silently type of guy.
Stiles got in his car and drove home.
It was 10 pm and Stiles was doing what he always did on Sunday nights, struggle to finish multiple assignments while simultaneously watching movies on Netflix. It was a difficult task, but not an impossible one.
He made the decision hours ago not to go over to Derek's. He needed to stay firm in his resolution not to get involved again. Stiles knew Scott would be upset, but eventually he would get used to not having Stiles around.